The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, says three Russian brigades were left without combat capability after fighting in the east around Bakhmut.
The general in command of the Ukrainian ground forces said his troops have defeated three of the best Russian brigades fighting on the front lines in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.
General Oleksandr Syrskyi also said on Monday that the recapture of two eastern Ukrainian villages in recent days – Klishchiivka and Andriivkaboth situated on high ground near the destroyed city of Bakhmut, marked an important advance.
“In the fighting in the Bakhmut section, some of the enemy’s best units have been crushed and completely lost their combat power,” Syrskyi said in a statement.
The Russian units in question were the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade, as well as the 31st and 83rd Air Assault Brigades.
Praising the recapture of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, Syrskyi said Ukrainian forces were continuing their advance and had had some success in breaking through Russian defense lines, although Moscow’s forces were counterattacking from multiple directions in an attempt to regain their lost positions.
“These settlements, at first glance small, were important elements in the enemy’s strategy. defensive line that extended from Bakhmut to Horlivka,” Syrskyi said on the Telegram messaging app, referring to a town about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Bakhmut.
“As a result of the successful actions of our troops, the enemy’s defensive line, which he tried to close by throwing all available reserves into battle, was broken,” he said.
⚡️Commander: Ukrainian forces breach Russian defensive line near Bakhmut.
Ukrainian troops have broken through one of the Russian defensive lines near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk Oblast, the commander of the Ground Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, reported on September 18.https://t.co/JFn2GCcE0i
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) September 18, 2023
Ukrainian military spokesman Ilia Yevlash also stressed the tactical importance of Klishchiivka, saying in televised comments that its recapture exposed Bakhmut’s southern flank and was “a favorable springboard for further advances.”
Russian forces captured the city of Bakhmut in May, but Ukrainian forces continued to fight a fierce urban war that became one of the bloodiest and longest battles since Russia invaded last year.
Russia denied on Saturday that there was lost control of Andriivka and the latest Ukrainian claims of battlefield gains against Russian forces could not be independently verified.
The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Monday that Ukraine’s advances south of Bakhmut and claims to destroy the combat capabilities of the three Russian brigades could indicate significant losses for Moscow.
“These VDV (Russian airborne) elements participated in the counterattack and attempted to push back Ukrainian advances around Bakhmut… and likely suffered heavy losses,” the ISW said.
The ISW also said that Russian forces south of Bakhmut were “probably battle-weary from recent efforts to hold” Klishchiivka and Andriivka.
-ISW (@TheStudyofWar) September 19, 2023
Ukraine has recaptured roughly 50 square kilometers (more than 19 square miles) of land around Bakhmut since the start of its long-awaited counteroffensive in June, the slow progress of which has been criticized by some of Kiev’s Western supporters.
Ukrainian officials have acknowledged the slow pace of their advance but have pointed to the strength of Russian defenses, including trenches and huge minefields, which Moscow had months to prepare as Kiev awaited the delivery of tanks promised by its Western allies.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, who was one of six deputy defense ministers dismissed on Monday as part of a reshuffle under the new defense minister, previously said Ukrainian forces had retaken 51 square kilometers (19 square miles). near Bakhmut and more than 260 square kilometers (100 square miles) of land in the south of the country during the counteroffensive.